Three wins for Danbury’s Smith, Hatters’ championship highlight postseason for FCIAC track teams

NEW BRITAIN – Alanna Smith, Danbury’s versatile junior sprinter, pulled off the rarest of excellent achievements when she won three races to lead the defending-champion Hatters to the 2021 Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Girls Outdoor Track and Field State Open team championship.

Smith won the 100-meter dash, the 200 and 400 and by scoring 10 team points in each event she contributed 30 of Danbury’s 44 total team points to lead them to their fifth overall State Open championship at Willow Brook Park on June 10.

Glastonbury, which won the Class LL team title at the same venue nine days earlier, was runner-up with 38 points. Weston placed third with 37.

From the FCIAC, Ridgefield placed sixth with 26 points, Staples and St. Joseph tied for 14th with 18, and Fairfield Ludlowe placed 18th with 13 points.

In the State Open meet for the boys, Hillhouse won with 50 points and was followed by Hall (44) and New Milford (35).

Greenwich junior Andrew O’Donnell won the 400 and placed fourth in the 200 to score 15 of the 22 team points the Cardinals scored to finish in a three-way tie for seventh place. They placed the highest among FCIAC teams. Staples was 12th with 18.5 points.

Smith’s incredible feat matched what Hillhouse sophomore Precious Holmes accomplished 10 years ago when she won the 100, 200 and 400.

Smith won 100-meter dash in 12.03, the 200 in 24.49 and the 400 in 56.78. She won all three of those races by comfortable margins. Smith won the 100 by .14 of a second, the 200 by .63 of a second and the 400 by 1.02 seconds.

Tianna Rogers, a senior shot-putter, contributed eight big points to Danbury’s defense of its team title by placing second (37 feet, 8¼ inches). Danbury junior Giuliana Robles was fifth in the triple jump (35-9¾).

Nia Christie, St. Joseph’s senior jumper, won the triple jump (37-11½) and was runner-up in the high jump (5-6) as she scored all 18 of her team’s points.

Staples sophomore Francine Stevens performed very well in the two shortest races as she was runner-up in the 200 (25.12) and third in the 100 (12.37) with season-best times. She scored 14 of Staples’ 18 points.

Greenwich senior Mari Noble placed second in the 1,600 with an excellent time of 4:53.33 as FCIAC runners placed 2-through-4 in the event. Noble was followed by Fairfield Ludlowe junior Anna Keeley (4:59.17) and Trumbull junior Kali Holden (4:59.71).

Ridgefield senior hurdler Erin Daugherty was runner-up in the 100-meter hurdles (15.12) and seventh in the 300 hurdles (46.08).

There were two other girls from the FCIAC who placed among the top five in their respective individual events at the State Open.

Wilton junior Emily Mrakovcic placed third in the 800 (2:14.4) and Brien McMahon senior Kemberly Denerville was fifth in the discus (116-04).

O’Donnell was the conference’s only individual champion in the boys State Open. He won the 400 (48.31) and placed fourth in the 200 (22.39).

Trumbull senior Dante Valentino was runner-up in the 100 with a 10.81.

Westhill senior Colin McLaughlin placed third in the 1,600 with an excellent time of 4:08.44 which was 5.3 seconds faster than his previous personal-best time.

There were three other boys from the FCIAC who placed in the top four in their events at the State Open.

Staples senior Connor McGeehan placed third in the long jump (22-0), Ridgefield senior Amit Markos was fourth in the 300 hurdles (39.9) and Norwalk junior Duke Quermorllue placed fourth in the high jump (6-2).

Prior to the State Open, Smith, Christie and O’Donnell all excelled to lead their teams to high placings at their respective state class championship meets.

Smith won the 100 and 200 and was runner-up in the 400 to lead Danbury to third place at the CIAC Girls Class LL Outdoor Track and Field Championships on June 1 at Willow Brook Park.

Glastonbury won the girls Class LL team title with 109.5 and Southington placed second with 88.

Danbury (81 points) led a contingent of five FCIAC teams in the top eight. Staples (73) was fourth, Greenwich (58) placed fifth, Ridgefield (57.5) took seventh and Fairfield Ludlowe (45) was eighth.

There were several other athletes who either won or placed second at the state class championship meets to give preview of their State Open successes.

In the girls Class LL meet, Greenwich’s Noble won the 3,200 and was runner-up to Ludlowe’s Keeley in the 1,600, Stevens of Staples was runner-up to Smith in the 100 and 200, Ridgefield’s Daugherty won the 100 hurdles and was third in the 300 hurdles, Danbury’s Rogers won the shot put and teammate Robles placed second in the triple jump.

The other FCIAC girls who were Class LL individual champions were Ludlowe’s Caitlyn Filloramo in the discus (106-3) and Ludlowe sophomore Tia Stapleton in the high jump (5-4),

The other conference girls who placed second in the Class LL championships included Staples’ Taylor Symonette in the shot put, Danbury’s Shakira Rosario in the long jump, Greenwich’s Tabitha Cook in the high jump, Greenwich’s Sophia Bastek in the 100 hurdles, and Staples’ Hannah Murphy in the 300 hurdles.

St. Joseph’s Christie won the triple jump and high jump and placed fourth in the long jump to score 25 of St. Joseph’s 30 points and lead the Cadets to ninth place in the state Class MM girls meet. Hillhouse won with 80.5 and Joel Barlow was second with 77.

O’Donnell won the 400 in 48.36 and placed second in the 200 as his 18 team points led Greenwich to fifth place in the boys Class LL meet.

Hall won with the team title 86 points, Norwich Free Academy (65.5) placed second and Danbury (60) was third while leading the contingent of five FCIAC teams in the top 10. Greenwich (49) was fifth, Ridgefield and Staples tied for sixth with 48 points and Norwalk (34) was 10th.

Norwalk’s senior hurdler Gregory Foster also had a victory and a runner-up finish as he won the 300 hurdles in 39.92 after he was runner-up in the 110 hurdles. His teammate Quermollue won the high jump (6-4).

The 800-meter race featured a thrilling finish among senior conference runners as Danbury’s Gabriel Kwarteng (1:53.70) nipped Ridgefield’s Charles King (1:53.72) by a scant 1/50th of a second.

Ridgefield’s Joseph Addotta won the discus (135-04).

Jonathan Lorenz, Kyle Harrington, Jalen St. Fort and George Lepska of Staples teamed up to win the 4×800 relay in 8:01.18.

The individual runner-up finishers from the FCIAC at the boys Class LL championships included Max Szostak of Staples in the 400, Ridgefield’s Charles Namiot in the 3,200, Ridgefield’s Markos in the 300 hurdles, Trumbull’s Jeremy Merkin in the pole vault, and Staples’ McGeehan in the long jump.

Shelby Dejana racked up 26 team points when she won the 100 hurdles (15.42) and placed second in the 100 and 200 to lead Wilton to a tie for fourth place at the CIAC Class L Girls Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Wilton’s Mrakovcic was runner-up in the 800 and Jill Roberts placed second in the 100 hurdles behind her teammate Dejana.

Windsor won the team title with 84 points while Wilton and New Milford each had 57 to share fourth place. New Canaan placed sixth with 51 points to nip seventh-place Darien (50.5) by a half of a point.

Chelsi Chevannes scored 20 points to lead Darien. She was second in the triple jump, tied for second in the high jump and fourth in the long jump.

New Canaan swept the top three places in the girls shot put. Gabriela DeFelice (34-11¾) won and was followed by Chloe Adams and Emma Gibbons, who was runner-up in the discus.

There were three FCIAC athletes who placed second at the boys Class L meet.

High jumper Jack Reynolds and pole vaulter Bennett Hemphill of Fairfield Ludlowe were second in their specialties while Wilton’s Jack Myers was runner-up in the 400.

NOTES: The Danbury girls team was the defending State Open champion because the Hatters won the last State Open meet in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic canceled all spring sports seasons last year. It was Danbury’s fifth State Open championship as the Hatters previously won three straight from 2008-10.

In reference to what Danbury’s Alanna Smith achieved this year to match what Hillhouse’s Precious Holmes accomplished in 2011 with their three victories in the 100, 200 and 400, in somewhat of a comparison, it was 40 years ago at the 1981 Boys State Open championship meet when Mike Shinsky swept the long jump, triple jump and high jump to score all 30 of Rippowam’s team points and single-handedly win the state championship for the former public high school from Stamford. Bridgeport Central and Weaver tied for second place with 26 points.

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